Congress MP Rahul Gandhi after being convicted by Surat court faces disqualification as an MP and may not be able to contest elections if the sentence is not suspended by higher courts.
The Representation of the People Act, 1951 Disqualification on Imprisonment provides that a person will be disqualified if convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for two years or more. The person is disqualified for the period of imprisonment and a further six years.
But, there is an exception for sitting members provided in the Act. “There is an exception for sitting members; they have been provided a period of three months from the date of conviction to appeal; the disqualification will not be applicable until the appeal is decided,” says the Act.
A Surat district court in Gujarat on Thursday convicted Congress MP Rahul Gandhi in a criminal defamation case against him over his alleged ‘Modi surname’ remark in 2019.
Gandhi was convicted under IPC sections 499 and 500. The maximum possible punishment under this section is two years.
The Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate H.H. Varma sentenced him to two years in jail and also imposed a fine of Rs 15,000 after finding him guilty; however, on Rahul Gandhi’s plea, his sentence has been suspended and bail has been granted to enable him to move an appeal against his conviction within 30 days.
BJP MLA and former Gujarat Minister Purnesh Modi had filed the case against Rahul Gandhi for his alleged “how come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?” remark.